Monday, January 23, 2012

Treasures You Should Read and Watch Today

A glance at sweet Princess, the cat who couldn't sit still, grabbing at my camera strap
I wish I could say I didn’t have a fabulous and award-winning blog post today because I was traveling in exotic lands.  Or dancing in a salsa competition.  Or putting finishing touches on the next great book to hit all the best-seller lists.  But life is more mundane.

This weekend I gave most of my attention to friends and family in various degrees of need.  It started when my son called to say his landlord caught him with his girlfriend’s cat in his “no pets” apartment and he had to get rid of it (why Princess is not with the girlfriend/owner right now is another story).  So me, a dog person, had to deal with a hyperactive kitten all weekend until new arrangements could be made.  I also had a friend almost completely incapacitated in a leg cast because of her first major accident after almost 40 years of being a horse owner.  I took down her Christmas decorations.  Two of my sisters were sick (sinus infection and shingles – yikes!) so I provided homemade soup and what entertainment I could.

Instead of writing a blog, therefore, I caught up on reading some.  Here are a few that would be worth a few minutes of your time this week.


This is the week that I start back to the gym with my trainer since I’ve been officially declared “recovered” from my surgery.  So I’m looking at health-related posts a lot.

Debra tells us about the value of Silence and Centering.  One of the greatest challenges for me is turning off the noise in my head to concentrate on writing ideas.  She reminds us that even 5 minutes each day of dedicated silence can improve our lives.

Indy Quillen in Making a Date With Yourself – Fueling Your Energy and Creativity also reminds us of the importance of taking time for ourselves.  We all need to have multiple ways to recharge our batteries, whether it’s spending the day at the beach or the afternoon in a bookstore.  Perhaps if I made regular weekly dates with myself I wouldn’t waste time all the other days getting distracted with useless stuff (hello, online celebrity gossip) because my well is dry.

I also gave some time to the literary/writing blogs I follow.  These offer something interesting for everyone.

Debra Eve reminds all of us that it’s never too late to be great on her blog about Late Bloomers.  In Edith Wharton: Beyond Downton Abbey she honors a great American writer on her 150th birthday.  In her novels and short stories Wharton chronicled the complicated life of East Coast social climbers at the turn of the century.  You probably read Ethan Frome in high school or college.  If you’re unfamiliar with her work, start with the lavish film adaptation of her book The Age of Innocence starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day-Lewis.

Chuck Wendig writes about a lot of things, but has dead-on posts about writing.  In 25 Things Writers Should Start Doing (ASAFP) he tries to verbally kick butts to move some of us from the “want to be a writer” to the “be a writer, damn it!” category.  But you know what, his advice works for a lot of dreams, like #12 “Start Escaping the Gravity of that Insidious Black Hole Known as ‘The Internet’” or #1 “Start Taking Yourself Seriously.”

This last one is totally random.  While I’m no longer part of academia and mining the depths of the ancient art known as “rhetoric” (Aristotle and all that jazz), I still check in with my old community on occasion.  Anyone who has spent any time deep in an academic environment can appreciate this.  Those who haven’t can just feel superior for having their feelings about life in the ivory tower confirmed.

Julie Platt is currently a Ph.d student in Rhetoric and Writing at Michigan State University.  Her little video, Shit Rhetoricians Say, does such a fantastic job of capturing the conversation flow of my beloved field of study.  I see nothing’s changed in the years since I was a graduate student.  Just enjoy her performance.  And remember: Rhetoric – Don’t Leave Home Without It.

Be sure to visit these writers and leave them comments.  Meanwhile, what great posts did you read or write this week?  What was your favorite online video?  What do you do to regain energy each week or what is your favorite literary/writing tip?  Share it all in the comments box.


Debra Eve | Later Bloomer said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Julie! Princess kitty is beautiful. I've already got two 20 lb. boys, or I'd take her.

monicastangledweb said...

Funny how you say, "Instead of writing a blog," you caught up on reading. But, in the process, you did write a blog! I look forward to checking these out, though will have to wait until the weekend when I'm not as pressed for time. But it does sound like you've had your hands full. Hope things go better this week. ;)

Anonymous said...

After reading on the wonderful books blog 'Dovegreyreader' about Edith Wharton a couple of days ago and that she often reads 'Ethan Frome' in winter, I picked it up in my local english bookshop yesterday and am enjoying it immensely, another one who lived in Paris no less. And a first for me, happy to finally become acquainted with her.
Keep up the reading Julie :)

Julie Farrar said...

I love her female characters because they are so multi-dimensional - and tragic. I'm vowing this year to read more by and about her.

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